Transportation Secretary gives update on flood recovery in Eastern Kentucky

A very clear directive was given to Gray by Governor Beshear when flooding first devastated eastern Kentucky.
Published: Sep. 21, 2022 at 11:55 AM EDT
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FRANKFORT, Ky. (WKYT) - A tremendous amount of work has been done to repair roads and bridges damaged or destroyed by flooding in eastern Kentucky. Now state officials are waiting to see if FEMA will reimburse most of the costs the state has incurred.

Transportation Secretary Jim Gray gave Kentucky lawmakers an update on Wednesday.

A very clear directive was given to Gray by Governor Beshear when flooding first devastated eastern Kentucky. Two months later Gray says there’s been tremendous progress as he showed before and after pictures to lawmakers during his testimony.

“We have cleared the enormous accumulation of storm debris both from the waterways and rights of way,” Gray said.

Of 1,100 bridges, 175 needed repairs. One of these was one in Perry County near Robinson Elementary.

There’s also been a number of private bridges leading to peoples’ homes. He says the state is working with people on those complex issues.

“There’s a lot of work that has to be done. As it relates to FEMA for reimbursements and how to work with the counties,” Gray said.

Gray said all of this has shown neighbors helping neighbors, and the state even pitching in to help counties, not asking questions on whose responsibility something was.

Lawmakers were appreciative of the work that’s been done.

“It’s shaping up. The creeks look really good, Ky. 28, 476, 550. It was like a bomb was set off in those areas,” Rep. Chris Fugate said.

“I want to compliment from the top down to the bottom up. Those guys are working hard and I know you all are,” Sen. Johnnie Turner said.

Gray says the state believes FEMA will eventually provide the reimbursements they need to pay for the road and bridge replacements.

State officials say through 11 pop-up sites, they were able to help more than 3,000 people replace their lost driver’s licenses or other forms of ID.